Wednesday, June 3, 2015

County officials transition to Level Two response for West Salt Creek Landslide

Mesa County officials today are implementing a Level Two response to the West Salt Creek Landslide. Conditions that prompted a Level One response last week are continuing.

The Level Two designation is a proactive step to be ready for an event, should it occur.

“We’ve been in a heightened state of awareness, but what this does is puts residents in low-lying areas on alert that something is likely to happen,” said Andy Martsolf, Mesa County’s Emergency Manager. “The magnitude of this event is unknown, but residents should be prepared to move to higher ground.”

The Landslide that struck the Grand Mesa a year ago left a swath of debris 3 miles long and ¾ of a mile wide. What officials call a “sag pond” has formed from rainwater, snowmelt and other runoff near the top of the slide.

Current conditions indicate the pond is likely to spill between Thursday and Sunday. If that happens, it is possible to see rapid down-cutting of the “slump block,” or debris field. This type of event may release a large volume of water that may impact Salt Creek Road and Collbran residents.

Mesa County’s emergency plan calls for immediate notification of the public when conditions become hazardous to citizens. Collbran residents this morning were made aware of the Level Two designation and the possibility of water spilling over the pond or finding a route down the debris area.

Last week, officials noticed the appearance of a stream below the pond. That prompted the Level One response designation.

Peak runoff and rain forecast for the weekend could contribute to the pond spilling.

Mesa County is providing sandbags for people in low-lying areas. To get those, call Mesa County Road and Bridge at (970) 244-1807.

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